Six months on from the ‘Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region’, the massive humanitarian needs in northeast Nigeria continue to grow as the conditions of civilians displaced by the violent eight-year conflict deteriorate further during the annual rainy season. The conflict between armed opposition groups and Nigerian and regional security forces has resulted in 8.5 million people in urgent need of life-saving assistance in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, the three most affected states in north east Nigeria. More than 5.2 million people in northeast Nigeria remain food insecure, with 450,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM).
At the ‘Oslo Conference’, on 24 February, 14 donors pledged $672 million for Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria for 2017. There was an agreement to further scale up the response, especially food assistance, to reach the most vulnerable groups threatened by famine, including children with SAM. The centrality of protection was emphasized with special attention given to the needs of women, children and youth, particularly ensuring the voluntariness of return in safety and dignity. Participants agreed that accelerated education, safe schools and expanded services must be prioritized and also highlighted the need for longer- term support and durable solutions for the displaced populations.
Ahead of the ‘Oslo Consultative Group on Prevention and Stabilization in the Lake Chad Region’ where senior officials are meeting on 6th September 2017, we, the undersigned NGOs delivering humanitarian assistance in Northeast Nigeria, join together in asking stakeholders from the ‘Oslo Conference’ to follow-up on the full range of commitments made during the conference, and consider the worsening humanitarian situation in addition to stabilization discussions.
Prior to the ‘Oslo Conference’, 22 NGOs suggested 7 steps to save more lives and assist people in Nigeria and Lake Chad Basin:
- putting protection of civilians at the centre of the response,
- a scale-up in the food and nutrition response,
- increasing access to more, better and safe quality education,
- safeguarding humanitarian space,
- strengthening leadership of the response and improving humanitarian coordination,
- ensuring all returns are safe, voluntary and dignified
- building resilience and increasing local capacity.5 This paper assesses progress against them in north east Nigeria six months after the conference.
The seven steps remain even more relevant today with the crisis far from being resolved and both internal and external factors limiting the response.
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COOPI’s 26 projects underway in lake Chad basin region provide shelter refuges, food and water, psychological support and education to 10.000 vulnerable children and their families.